Urban Outfitters' comparable-store sales were up during February and March, but dropped for the first quarter due to what the company characterised as a weather-related decline in April.

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based specialty retailer reported Tuesday (8 May) that its same-store sales for the quarter were down 2% versus a 3% decline in last year's period. Comps were up 2% at Anthropologie and 8% at Free People, but dipped 5% at the Urban Outfitters unit.

On a net basis, sales were up 16.5% to US$314.5m from $270m in last year's quarter. By division, Urban Outfitters sales rose 10.9% to $129.9m, Anthropologie was ahead 18.7% to $118.6m, direct-to-consumer up 29.9% to $43.5m and Free People advanced 15.7% to $22.5m.

"Sales at all of our brands rose significantly during the first quarter, fuelled largely by new store growth and excellent results in the direct-to-consumer businesses," said Richard Hayne, chairman and president.

"The company produced positive total comp-store sales during the first two months of the quarter, but April was a difficult month due most to weather issues.

"With a return to more normal spring weather in the month of May, sales have rebounded nicely," he concluded.

The firm opened four new UO stores and two new Anthropoloogie units during the quarter and plans to open at least 38 stores during the current fiscal year. In addition to websites and catalogues, the firm operates 110 Urban Outfitters stores, 95 under the Anthropologie banner and eight Free People stores. Free People also operates a wholesale division.

The company will report its full results for the quarter on 10 May.
By Arnold J Karr.